The Story of TUG
Nearly nine years has gone by since that very first day Maya (my purebred Arabian Mare) was given Turmeric in her feed thanks to Doug’s insistence. Since then we have learnt so much about How to Feed, the recipe for Golden Paste, Curcumin quality, the addition of pepper for absorption, carrier oils AND seen the invention of Turmericle!
All these amazing health benefits, not only for horses but for other animals and humans, all thanks to Turmeric. As we’ve seen from the Turmeric User Group (TUG) on Facebook, the list goes on and on, and how a simple recommendation from Doug, has amazingly turned into a page with over a hundred thousand members from all around the world.
IN THE BEGINNING
My journey involving Turmeric started many years ago. At the time I was one of Doug English long term clients and I was currently at my wits end regarding Queensland Itch and my purebred Arabian Mare, Maya.
I had owned her approximately 8 months and her first Far North Qld Summer brought the dreaded Itch. At the time we tried to manage it as best as we could with Washes and Creams but it was becoming increasingly evident that the normal treatment wasn’t going to cut it and when she started to lose all her hair from her chest down, it was time to do something a bit more radical.
Cortisone injections proved successful but were not something that could be sustained for long periods of time. Doug mentioned Turmeric to me, he hadn’t used it on a horse but it was in a Prescription diet for Dogs with skin issues. Maybe it would be worth a go? I was Super Sceptical.
At this time there was no information out there, nothing on how to feed it, what to feed it with, and nothing referencing quality or quantity. So with literally nothing to lose I started to add small amounts of Turmeric Powder to her feed.
Unfortunately I never took any photos of Maya while her skin was bad – who wants photos of their horse with bleeding skin? I in no way thought Turmeric would literally change our lives, in fact I just thought Doug was speaking his crazy weird vet stuff – it was nothing new to me!
THE CHANGES TURMERIC CREATED
I remember the early days of the TUG Facebook site and people asking how long it took to see a change, my answer was three days – yes that’s right three days! My horse Maya, who was literally self-mutilating, stopped looking so inflamed and itchy after only a few days on the Turmeric Powder.
From memory I stumbled along like this until I ran out of the first bag of Turmeric Powder and still being rather apprehensive I didn’t continue……the itch came back literally straight away. I realised then that there must be something in this orange stuff.
By this time, compared with what I had been doing prior (the washing, the itch rugs etc etc) putting a tablespoon of Turmeric powder in Maya’s feed everyday was pretty easy.
And by now I had started my other horse Ria on it – she was pretty bulletproof health wise but for the first time in her life a small stubborn patch of rain scald had formed that wouldn’t budge! The magical three day mark appeared and BAM no sign of the rain scald. I think this was the moment I started taking Turmeric more seriously.
I was also starting to see changes that I couldn’t explain, my horses were gleaming, they were always shiny and in good condition but this glow was something else. They also seemed to have uber hair growing capabilities – their manes were growing thick and luscious and their tails had to be trimmed because they would grow to the ground.
I had also become a bit more adventurous with amounts and gradually increased the amount that Maya was being fed. We had started small and increased to a full cup of Turmeric Powder per day.
Nowadays (knowing what we know) this would seem ludicrous but back then we didn’t know about absorption – and using ground black pepper, and oil as a carrier, were completely out of the picture.
Doug now believes that although the use of pepper and oil as a carrier is the most effective way for the equine to be fed Turmeric, we were seeing results because of the volume and the horses’ digestive system being able to utilise the curcumin.
ADDING THE ‘OTHER’ INGREDIENTS
We (me and the horses) continued on this way for the next two years and then I began a new job that literally had me working with Doug, and part of this involved me having to email out information on how to use Turmeric for horse owners. At this stage there was no Facebook page and certainly no Golden Paste Recipe!
That year a new addition joined my family – a tiny little Section A Welsh pony, Rosie, arrived after a weeks worth of travelling from literally the bottom end of Australia to the top. It was a very long journey for a young pony.
Rosie arrived looking a bit underdone and her coat was quite dry. At the time I put this down to the toll the travel took on her, but a few weeks later I could see she had a slight scurfy quality to her skin.
Straight away Rosie was put onto Turmeric, AND by now we understood the need to add pepper and oil to the mix, so her introduction was a bit different to the other two.
The photos above show Rosie arriving off the transport truck and 6 weeks later after her Turmeric/pepper/oil mix.
CREATING THE TURMERIC USER GROUP (TUG)
By now I was getting asked constantly what I was feeding my horses to give them that glow. I used to think people would think I was crazy so I was quite hesitant to tell them – feed a horse a spice, you just don’t do that!
My answer at that point was I feed them probably the same as what you do BUT I just add this orange stuff! Some people weren’t interested and some were curious. For the one’s that were curious, I would explain Maya’s story and would leave it at that. The results were speaking for themselves and at the time we had no idea that things were going to change BIG TIME.
In 2012 after a day of constantly copying and pasting emails regarding Turmeric, plus all the Facebook messages that Doug kept referring over to me, I suggested to Doug that maybe he should look at creating a Facebook Group. At this point I said it in jest – surely no one would take this Turmeric stuff seriously!
I seriously never thought Doug would go ahead with it. That night I had over 50 notifications on my phone and I had no idea why! It turns out that Doug had gone ahead and started the TUG Facebook Page and had joined up over a hundred people – he had also made me Admin!
I think I laughed more then anything thinking that no one would take it seriously. You can imagine my shock when people started posting questions up and the membership grew from 100 to 500 in literally weeks.
I think I still remember my first post frantically trying to get Doug to come onto the page to answer some complicated questions! Of course Doug had gone AWOL!
As for me you won’t see me actively admining on TUG, but I do watch over the page and I will offer the odd comment or photo now and then.
For me I love how the TUG Facebook page has taken on a life of its own and how other members help each other and answer each others questions. AND that’s what its all about really – the sharing of information.
As for Maya, Ria and Rosie –
Maya has never had a flare up of Queensland Itch since that first episode – in fact you could say she is cured.
Ria is still bullet proof in her health despite the fact she is nearly 17 years old (where did the time go).
And Rosie – well I think Rosie could end up with her own page, for something so small she really has turned my life upside down in a good way. Good things come in small packages don’t they!
For Rosie the battle with Queensland Itch seems to be much more difficult (must be a southern horse thing!) but the horses are all still on Turmeric, in fact they all get Turmericle, as do my dogs (but they are a whole other story).
And I continue to keep up with Doug even though he has now moved away from the practise that I work for. BUT I don’t miss the orange Turmeric stains everywhere or him sneaking copious amounts of Turmeric into my coffee!
I don’t think either of us could have imagined the success of the TUG Facebook page but it’s really been a credit to the Admins AND of course the members that make it what it is.
Here’s to the Golden Spice that has literally changed my life.
Story by Tegan Ford
Images by Kate Richards
PLEASE NOTE – the official registered names of Tegan’s horses are:
Maya – Ahnshahn Maya (Willowvale Picasso x Cooroora Casjmir)
Ria – Tintinarra Koorine (Prince Rasheyd x Trixie)
Rosie – Dallu Evening Rose (Nattai Pedr x Dallu Emily Rose)